Challenges Of Overlapping Construction On 3 Major Pipeline Projects

May 2010 Vol. 65 No. 5
Michels’ construction spread on the Keystone Pipeline project.

“It was a pleasure to work with Kinder Morgan, Sempra and ConocoPhillips,” Tristani said. “And on top of that, the local residents were very friendly and accommodating.”

Keystone Pipeline
Michels started work on TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline in June 2009, working on spreads 2A and 3B of the project. Keystone will transport crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, OK when fully complete later this year. The $12 billion project consists of 30-inch and 36-inch pipe, and will have a total capacity of 1.1 million bpd. When complete, it will span 2,148 miles, with 769 miles in Canada and 1,379 miles in the United States.

Michels actually began work on the 130-mile spread 2A in May 2008 and finished mainline installation in early 2009. After a lull of about three months due to weather, Michels returned to clean up and testing of Spread 2A and began installation of the 140 miles of spread 3B in May. Work on 2A was completed in October and spread 3B was finished by mid-November.

All told, the project totaled 270 miles, with a peak of about 460 employees and 100 subcontract workers. For its safety leadership and performance on the project, Michels was awarded one of the first Keystone Pipeline Vice President’s Awards. Michels also worked closely with residents to alleviate their concerns.

“Many people came to us with issues regarding their land,” Project Manager Mike Brouillette said. “We worked closely with TransCanada to take care of their needs, and I think, for the most part, everyone walked away from the job happy.”

Alberta Clipper
With work on REX-East and Keystone still ongoing, Michels began its third and final massive pipeline project of 2009 near the Canadian border.

Michels was heavily involved in both spreads of Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper project, with Tristani providing superintendent services for spread one and Wade working on spread two. Michels’ work on spread one consisted of 69.7 miles of 36-inch crude oil pipeline in northern North Dakota and Minnesota. Running parallel to six other pipelines en route to Superior, WI, spread one starts at the Canadian border near Neche, ND, and ends at the Snake River in Minnesota.

The project was completed last month, ahead of schedule and under budget despite the start being delayed 2.5 weeks. The official start date was Aug. 20, 2009, after receiving the final permit needed from the Department of State.

Michels Directional Crossings was also involved on this project, making seven horizontal directional drills. Pullback support was provided by Michels Pipeline Construction.